I want to thank the board of trustees for the opportunity to serve as superintendent of the Copperas Cove Independent School District.

In addition, I want to express my gratitude for the efforts put forth by school board members, as well as Rose Cameron and others who have served as superintendent. I appreciate their efforts to establish a challenging and successful academic program for students, as well as a solid financial foundation for the future.

I also want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the community of Copperas Cove for the warm welcome my family and I have received. It is always quite a transition when you relocate, but when you move four growing boys and a couple of pets, it only adds to the excitement.

Speaking of excitement, I just want to highlight a couple of things that have been taking place in CCISD this summer.

First, what about the students who traveled to San Francisco and blew away the competition in the national "No Bull" video competition on their way to claiming the top prize? What an achievement for these young people and their sponsor.

Second, I want to brag on our staff for the outstanding job they have done hosting summer camps for our students. As a result of their efforts, hundreds of students enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in everything from basketball to soccer. Students also learned what it is like to work as a team, have an important role to play and be responsible for their actions, words and deeds. Team sports are great for kids.

I want to add a generous helping of gratitude for our staff that literally works behind the scenes all summer long. While many have been enjoying their time off, the maintenance, transportation, warehouse and custodial staff have been hard at work preparing our facilities and equipment for the first day of school.

These tireless souls have ensured the grass was cut and the hedges trimmed; classroom and hallway floors were swept, mopped and waxed; our fleet of buses was cleaned, repaired and ready for service; and that we had enough supplies to meet the needs of teachers and students. These unspoken heroes do their jobs quietly and without recognition because they know our teaching staff and students deserve the very best environment in which to teach and learn. Thanks, gals and guys, for your hard work. We appreciate you.

Finally, I want to say how important it is to have a highly qualified and effective teaching staff that is dedicated to student growth and achievement. We are blessed in CCISD to have some of the very best educators in the state.

However, one of the challenges of any school district is the need to recruit and retain an all-star staff. As a result of some staff retiring or resigning to pursue other opportunities, campus leadership teams have been busy seeking individuals who can come to CCISD and make a true and lasting difference for kids.

Each time the team made a staff selection, they focused on knowledge of the content area, commitment to student success and a strong desire to become a contributing member of the campus staff. Principals tell me they have employed excellent teachers.

I want to close by thanking the parents and patrons of CCISD for the support and generosity that you bestow upon the district. With all the good things taking place in Cove, I count myself a blessed man to be a part of such an outstanding district.

Please know that we are working diligently to continue the rich legacy and to maintain the reputation of success that the CCISD staff and students have earned.

Joe Burns is the superintendent of the Copperas Cove Independent School District.

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